The Oujda Angad airport has so far welcomed home 1,200 Moroccans who were stranded abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rabat – Morocco repatriated 312 citizens from Turkey the night of June 19, including children, infants, and elderly people, on three special flights operated by flag carrier Royal Air Maroc (RAM).
RAM deployed three planes for the operation, carrying 104, 105, and 103 nationals, respectively. They landed at the airport of Oujda-Angad, in eastern Morocco, according to Airport Manager Mohcine Benhaddouche.
The most recent arrivals mark the third repatriation operation for Moroccans stranded in Turkey. Two groups arrived earlier this week on direct flights from Istanbul to Tetouan’s Saniat R’mel Airport, returning a respective 313 and 103 passengers.
Benhaddouche announced that the Oujda Angad airport has so far received 1,200 Moroccans who were stranded abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic, coming from Algeria, Spain, and Turkey. He assured that all operations respected prescribed preventive measures to avoid the spread of the virus.
Oujda’s airport manager also emphasized the implementation of necessary measures to ensure the safety of passengers and airport staff, including providing protective face masks and sterilization equipment and conducting thermal checks. Airport staff also benefited from training to appropriately manage the reception of passengers in light of COVID-19.
The repatriated nationals spent more than three months in the Asian country due to Morocco’s decision to close borders on March 15 to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The country’s border closures left over 33,000 Moroccans stranded, according to the latest figures from the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Speaking before the House of Councillors on June 9, Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita introduced the repatriation operations, saying they will begin with Moroccans stranded in Spain, followed by Turkey, the Gulf countries, France, and other African states.
Morocco repatriated over 1,000 citizens from Spain between June 10 and 15, deploying 10 flights from Malaga, Madrid, Barcelona, and the Canary Islands.
The repatriation process will proceed according to a carefully prepared national strategy, Bourita added.
The latest figure of the foreign affairs ministry revealed that more than 33,000 Moroccans stranded abroad have requested repatriation at Moroccan diplomatic missions abroad.